CHASKA, Minn. - Forgive Bruce Olson for initially being a bit skeptical about the Volvo EC140B. After all, Olson's Valley-Rich Company owns 17 excavators, all mostly Cat or Komatsu.
So when Sweeney Brothers Tractor Inc. salesmen Dan McEwen claimed Volvo had a 14-ton machine that could compete with both the Cat and Komatsu in the same class, Olson took him up on the challenge.
Olson, son Ted and John Miklya organized their own 14-ton excavator digging competition, lining up the Volvo EC140B against the Cat 312C and Komatsu PC120-6 on a typical Minnesota job site.
Miklya is a partner with Ted Olson in Valley-Rich II. That firm had recently purchased a Komatsu PC120-6, and they eagerly offered that new unit as competition.
According to Bruce Olson, each of the participants in the excavator competition was impressed by the Volvo EC140B, which came out digging right from the start.
Consensus that day was that the performance of the Volvo equaled that of the other excavators in the competition, which included the recently purchased Komatsu.
Olson said that he and the others on the test site were most impressed by the speed and smoothness of the EC140B.
The Volvo EC140B derives much of that speed and smoothness from its Volvo turbo charged diesel engine with direct injection, its well-tuned, state-of-the art hydraulics and advanced control system.
Valley-Rich, located in Chaska, Minn., presently has two Cat 312 units on its equipment list, and Olson said that when it came time to add a new 14-ton unit, he intended to bring in another Cat. "I would have done that again had the Volvo not been competitive in performance and price."
From Volvo skeptic to Volvo owner
Based on the results of this competition, Olson and Valley-Rich placed an order for their first Volvo EC140B with Sweeney Brothers, of nearby Burnsville, Minn. That machine is to be equipped with 28" track pads and Volvo's Quick Fit coupler.
"The competition on these machines is tough," Olson said. "For me to say that Volvo held its own against that field (Cat and Komatsu) is quite a compliment.
Valley-Rich Company, founded in 1970, is a commercial and residential sewer/water contractor serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.
While the EC140B will be Valley-Rich's first full-size Volvo crawler excavator, Olson said his experience with Volvo wheel loaders has him convinced that his new excavator will get the job done.
"We look at our Volvo loaders, and they are continuously smooth and they just don't break down," he said. "We trust that the same engineering that they put into those loaders went into the Volvo excavator as well."